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Abdication, a funny word with serious implications

Life can change before our very eyes. One minute things are going along fine and then in a flash, everything turns on a dime. Choices have consequences that lead to lasting change. The power of choice is well noted throughout history.

A more modern example of the impact our choices can make is seen in the life of the British royal family. It is easy to overlook that if not for King Edward’s life choices, there would have been no Queen Elizabeth. Unexpected outcomes led to her ultimate reign.

Following the death of Edward’s father, King George V, Edward became king of the United Kingdom.

Everything seemed to be going along smoothly except for one little hiccup. Edward had eyes for a divorced American socialite who was in the process of divorcing her second husband. His love interest was fraught with controversy and was frowned upon by the royal family, political figures and the Church of England as his ongoing reputation as a womanizer threatened a serious constitutional crisis.

When it became apparent Edward could not marry Wallis, and remain king, he abdicated the throne and turned the crown over to his younger brother, King George VI.  Edward had reigned for only 326 days. History was forever changed. Elizabeth, who was the niece to the former king, now became heir to the throne as her dad, King George VI assumed leadership.

Once her father died, Elizabeth became Queen. Without the abdication of the crown by her uncle, it is very likely we would have never known much about Elizabeth, Prince Charles or Princess Diana. Like so many royals, apart from the crown, they were simply part of the family tree.

Abdication is a funny word. It has a bit of a stuffy, aristocratic air about it. It feels very British, formal and Old English. Abdication is the act of formally relinquishing authority. In essence it is the failure to fulfill a responsibility or duty. In many ways it demonstrates self-interest and a lack of leadership.

Abdication is not unique to the Royal Family. In fact, abdication has its roots in the first family of human kind. Within the first few pages of the history of mankind we discover the consequences of abdication.

As the story goes, Adam and Eve had a pretty good thing going in the Garden of Eden. Everything they needed was at their fingertips. The weather was so nice they didn’t have to worry about sunscreen. This is especially notable given clothes were optional!

Not wanting to raise robots, the Creator provided options to the first family. Choices provided evidence for true love. After all, if choices for dinner dates are limited to the one and only, how would you ever know if you were truly chosen or simply the consolation prize. God wanted to provide his kids the option of choosing His way or their way.

We all know how the story ends. We humans have a knack for coloring outside the lines, testing limits and challenging authority. We like things our way and we often think we know better.

With a fair share of incitement, from a not so friendly neighbor, Eve becomes fixated on the one thing that threatened her innocence. It looked so beautiful, delicious and seemed to promise incredible enlightenment. How could something that seemed so good possibly cause any harm?

For centuries Eve has taken the heat for the one little nibble and tantalizing sampler that forever changed history. In a nanosecond the days of innocence vanished. Shame, blame and fear rushed in and the garden soon became a place of hiding and a thing of the past. The insiders were now outsiders before they could even get the fig leaves tied in place.

We often forget that Eve was not alone as she reached out with the same curiosity that killed the cat. Adam was there by her side. How might history have been different if Adam had not abdicated his role as a friend, lover and leader of the small little kingdom known as Eden?

When asked about his role in the events of the day, Adam had one response, “It was the woman.”  Really? What a weak response. If ever there was a time to man up, now was the time. Rather than share in the responsibility, rather than admit he had failed to speak up, Adam, stood down, caved to people pleasing and joined in on the downfall.

It has been said that sin will take you farther than you want to go. Keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay. It was certainly true on that day and it remains true today as well.

King Edward and Adam are not alone in their abdication. We too find ourselves with important decisions to make each and every day. Will we stand in the gap? Take responsibility? Give into the easy way or stand strong until the end?

We have a tendency to abdicate. It is part of our not so royal blood line. We are prone to wander off course, try and cheat fate and peek where no eye should peer. Yet, we do and we pay the price. The consequences of our choices are real and history is often changed not for a little while but forever as a result.

Is there no hope for us? Indeed, there is.

There was another option in the garden that remains today. One choice led to destruction while the other provided life to the fullest. The garden may have been closed but the loving creator, who’s way had been rejected, had mercy and grace and ultimately demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet lost in our own ways provided a way back to walks with Him.

Actions have consequences. Debts must be paid. The good news is, that when it comes to life, the Lord himself is willing to pay the price. He is not an abdicator. He is a terminator. He terminates our debt and offers life with him if only we will accept the gift of a much-needed Savior, his son, the new Adam that got it right!

And so it goes, the choice is yet again ours to make. Our way or His way? It is a choice we must not abdicate!

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